I want the Exige, but those clamshell replacement costs... - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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I want the Exige, but those clamshell replacement costs...

Ive been extensively researching about the Elise/Exige as I am keen on purchasing one; however reading about the replacement costs of these clamshells are definitely making me rethink. Is the Evora the same way with clamshells? Some of these costs to get these clamshells replaced are outrageously expensive!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:16 PM
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it's a very large piece of fiberglass (composite)... so the $3k price for a refurbished one seems pretty reasonable... that if some reason the clam can't be repaired

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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it's a very large piece of fiberglass (composite)... so the $3k price for a refurbished one seems pretty reasonable... that if some reason the clam can't be repaired


Hmm I wasnt aware that the clam can be repaired. That would be significantly cheaper than having to have the whole clam replaced? Everything else seems reasonable cost wise, its just the clamshell costs that are off putting.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:02 PM
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 02:14 AM
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keep it insured


All fiberglass parts can be repaired
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 04:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jspecd View Post
Hmm I wasnt aware that the clam can be repaired. That would be significantly cheaper than having to have the whole clam replaced? Everything else seems reasonable cost wise, its just the clamshell costs that are off putting.
There are several "reconstruction" threads around that show people repairing damaged clams - I'm just not able to find one quickly the moment. I do recall seeing one of a rear clam with a lower right sections just above the exhaust being cut out and a patch from another damaged clam being glassed back in.

Also, if you look up InoKinetic's (Found it!) Spyder build, you can see where they repaired a door - not a clam, but same materials

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 06:42 AM
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Fiberglass repair is a skill. It's a rare skill most places (because complex curves in large fiberglass structures are rare compared to stamped sheet metal, for instance), but not especially hard to learn if you have the right motor skills and some patience.

It's more like lath-and-plaster or drywall repair work than any other more common skill I can name: you start off with something semi-liquid and sculpt it into something solid. In both cases, you do the rough work by forming it in the liquid state, and then sculpt by material removal once it has hardened. It's common to use temporary molds made of paperboard, corrugated cardboard, thin plywood, etc to hold the floppy fiberglass and resin in the desired shape while it cures.

The good news is that it's as permanent as you want it to be - if you make a mistake, you can cut/grind it out and start over. Better quality fiberglass work is lighter and stronger than poorer quality work - you can spot an amateur job because it will look lumpy/heavy on the backside, even if the front side looks OK.

There's nothing special I can name about Lotus FG panels versus the FG on my Casita camper, a fiberglass boat, or a Corvette. Repair/modification methods are the same in all cases.

Exige clams are laid-up fiberglass like the panels on an Elan, for example. Elise clams are actually die molded FRP. The same FG repair techniques work equally well for both.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:28 AM
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If you really want one, I wouldnít let clamshell costs stop you. Thatís why we have insurance to alleviate majority of any repair costs. As others mentioned, it can be replaced or repaired on the extent of the damage. Although, with the age of the Elise/exige(fed lotus), any replacement clam will probably be a total loss. Rare case where only the clam was damaged and needs replacement without anything else needing repair. With the newer evoras, probably wonít be a total.
I have a $250 deductible so I donít worry too much and just try to enjoy. With that said, Iím still very careful and aware of my surroundings, where I park, or what location Iím going to, if there is a parking lot or not, etc. GLWS!

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 05:59 PM
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Drive one knocking on the door of 300hp, set up and not sure there is anything that will give you the same thrill for even a lot more money, speed yes, thrill, no.
Itís like. A raw piece of steak, yet a scalpel all in one.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 07:34 PM
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When I was shopping cars it crossed my mind, then I thought how silly it sounded to exclude a car from my list because of the possible cost of balling it up.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 09:45 AM
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Damaging a clamshell is something I worry about too.

Luckily I've been able to avoid any damage in my 10 years of Elise ownership.

Main tips are:

1) Never parallel park the car.
2) Stay well back at intersections and have your hand ready on the horn.
3) Stay out of blind spots.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 10:11 AM
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I bought a salvage one recently and was dreading the clam price, but i contacted a boat builder who repaired my clam easily. Once we peeled the clearbra off the damage was not too bad. Any low speed damage will not cost an arm and a leg if you shop around. Exige clams in particular are easier to repair than the Elise clams.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 10:34 AM
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I find parallel parking not particularly daunting.

It like to park where the other cars do not have to slide in or out. Like a row of only 2 or 3 between driveways or fire hydrants etc

Be at the beginning or end[although the middle is best in a row of 3]

Don't squeeze in a tight place.

REgular parking lots are just as bad, I park in empty areas.

I tend not to pull too far in[makes the space look empty till they start to pull in]

I like to park at the end of the line[only one side exposed]

Its a car, it can be fixed.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! This really put my mind at ease. I definitely would love to have a Lotus. I'll just keep full insurance on it and be careful with it.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-20-2019, 04:07 PM
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Can’t even imagine parallel parking any vehicle I care a lot about, I don’t even like to with my daily Honda Si.

Our Elise is on it’s fourth front clam. Two destroyed with big offs (just after being) on track. Did one track only race clam (no lights) and then yet another when returned to street duty. Took her out today!

So it can be done.

Insurance, including track insurance, is your friend.

Anyone can make something complicated. It takes genius to make it simple. Einstein.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-22-2019, 07:07 PM
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Bit wierd post this. Pretty much any car can be expensive if something wrong happens. Fiberglass can be repaired in most cases and not that hard... can't see why that one factor is a worry.
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